The Religion of the Ancient Celts
Page: 80The wind was also regarded as a living being whose power was to be dreaded. It punished King Loegaire for breaking his oath. But it was also personified as a god Vintius, equated with Pollux and worshipped by Celtic sailors, or with Mars, the war-god who, in his destructive aspect, was perhaps regarded as the nearest analogue to a god of stormy winds. Druids and Celtic priestesses claimed the power of controlling the winds, as did wizards and witches in later days. This they did, according to Christian writers, by the aid of demons, perhaps the old divinities of the air. Bishop Agobard describes how the tempestarii raised tempests which destroyed the fruits of the earth, and drew "aerial ships" from Magonia, whither the ships carried these fruits. Magonia may be the upper air ruled over by a sky god Magounos or Mogounos, equated with Apollo. The winds may have been his servants, ruled also by earthly magicians. Like Yahweh, as conceived by Hebrew poets, he "bringeth the winds out of his treasures," and "maketh lightnings with rain."
Gildas ii. 4.
Jocelyn, Vila Kentig. c. xxxii.
Trip. Life, 315.
LL 12b. The translation is from D'Arbois, ii. 250 f; cf. O'Curry, MC ii. 190.
RC xxii. 400.
RC xii. 109.
Petrie, Tara, 34; RC vi. 168; LU 118.
Joyce, OCR 50.
D'Achery, Spicelegium, v. 216; Sébillot, i. 16 f., 56, 211.
Gregory of Tours, Hist. ii. 10, speaks of the current belief in the divinity of waters, birds, and beasts.
Sébillot, i. 9, 35, 75, 247, etc.
Joyce, SH ii. 273; Cormac, 87; Stokes, TIG xxxiii., RC xv. 307.
Miss Hull, 170, 187, 193; IT i. 214; Leahy, i. 126.
IT i. 287.
Henderson, Irish Texts, ii. 210.
Capit. Karoli Magni, i. 62; Leges Luitprand. ii. 38; Canon 23, 2nd Coun. of Arles, Hefele, Councils, iii. 471; D'Achery, v. 215. Some of these attacks were made against Teutonic superstitions, but similar superstitions existed among the Celts.
See Grimm, Teut. Myth. ii. 498.
A more tolerant note is heard, e.g., in an Irish text which says that the spirits which appeared of old were divine ministrants not demoniacal, while angels helped the ancients because they followed natural truth. "Cormac's Sword," IT iii. 220-221. Cf. p. 152, supra.
Cæsar, vi. 18; Pliny xxii. 14. Pliny speaks of culling mistletoe on the sixth day of the moon, which is to them the beginning of months and years (sexta luna, quae principia, etc.). This seems to make the sixth, not the first, day of the moon that from which the calculation was made. But the meaning is that mistletoe was culled on the sixth day of the moon, and that the moon was that by which months and years were measured. Luna, not sexta luna, is in apposition with quae. Traces of the method of counting by nights or by the moon survive locally in France, and the usage is frequent in Irish and Welsh literature. See my article "Calendar" (Celtic) in Hastings' Encyclop. of Religion and Ethics, iii. 78 f.
Delocke, "La Procession dite La Lunade," RC ix. 425.
Monnier, 174, 222; Fitzgerald, RC iv. 189.
Frazer, Golden Bough2, ii. 154 f.
Pliny, xvi. 45; Johnson, Journey, 183; Ramsay, Scotland in the Eighteenth Century, ii. 449; Sébillot, i. 41 f.; MacCulloch, Misty Isle of Skye, 236. In Brittany it is thought that girls may conceive by the moon's power (RC iii. 452).
Strabo, iii. 4. 16.
Brand, s.v. "New Year's Day."
Chambers, Popular Rhymes, 35; Sébillot, i. 46, 57 f.
Polybius, v. 78; Vita S. Eligii, ii. 15.
Osborne, Advice to his Son (1656), 79; RC xx. 419, 428.
Aristotle, Nic. Eth. iii. 77; Eud. Eth. iii. 1. 25; Stobæus, vii. 40; Ælian, xii. 22; Jullian, 54; D'Arbois, vi. 218.
Sébillot, i. 119. The custom of throwing something at a "fairy eddy," i.e. a dust storm, is well known on Celtic ground and elsewhere.
Folk-Lore, iv. 488; Curtin, HTI 324; Campbell, The Fians, 158. Fian warriors attacked the sea when told it was laughing at them.
Mélusine, ii. 200.
Sébillot, ii. 170.
Meyer, Cath. Finntraga, 40.
RC xvi. 9; LB 32b, 55.
Meyer, op. cit. 55; Skene, i. 282, 288, 543; Rh[^y]s, HL 387.
Meyer, 51; Joyce, PN i. 195, ii. 257; RC xv. 438.
Holder, s.v. "Vintius."
Agobard, i. 146.
See Stokes, RC vi. 267.
RIVER AND WELL WORSHIP.
Among the Celts the testimony of contemporary witnesses, inscriptions, votive offerings, and survivals, shows the importance of the cult of waters and of water divinities. Mr. Gomme argues that Celtic water-worship was derived from the pre-Celtic aborigines, but if so, the Celts must have had a peculiar aptitude for it, since they were so enthusiastic in its observance. What probably happened was that the Celts, already worshippers of the waters, freely adopted local cults of water wherever they came. Some rivers or river-goddesses in Celtic regions seem to posses pre-Celtic names.598